Life is getting betterand at an accelerating rate. Food availability, income, and life span are up; disease, child mortality, and violence are down all across the globe. Though the world is far from perfect, necessities and luxuries alike are getting cheaper; population growth is slowing; Africa is following Asia out of poverty; the Internet, the mobile phone, and container shipping are enriching peoples lives as never before. The pessimists who dominate public discourse insist that we will soon reach a turning point and things will start to get worse. But they have been saying this for two hundred years.Yet Matt Ridley does more than describe how things are getting better. He explains why. Prosperity comes from everybody working for everybody else. The habit of exchange and specializationwhich started more than 100,000 years agohas created a collective brain that sets human living standards on a rising trend. The mutual dependence, trust, and sharing that result are causes for hope, not despair.This bold book covers the entire sweep of human history, from the Stone Age to the Internet, from the stagnation of the Ming empire to the invention of the steam engine, from the population explosion to the likely consequences of climate change. It ends with a confident assertion that thanks to the ceaseless capacity of the human race for innovative change, and despite inevitable disasters along the way, the twenty-first century will see both human prosperity and natural biodiversity enhanced. Acute, refreshing, and revelatory, The Rational Optimist will change your way of thinking about the world for the better. ...
|Title||:||The Rational Optimist (P.S.)|
|Format Type||:||Kindle Edition|
|Number of Pages||:||483 pages|
|Url Type||:||Home » Download » The Rational Optimist (P.S.)|
The Rational Optimist (P.S.) Reviews
Another Goodreads member, Helen Grant, wrote a scathing review of The Rational Optimist:
I found it particularly offensive and hypocritical that she took Ridley to task for his tone, calling it “blithe and pompous” in the midst of a review which was itself sarcastic, insulting, smugly self-congratulatory, and just plain vulgar. Certainly, Ridley can be sarcastic, and I consider that a blemish on his otherwise excellent writing. However, if Grant is going to ...more
I wanted to read this because of the excellent review in the Economist: Getting better all the time: The biological, cultural and economic forces behind human progress .
But I started out skeptical. I’m fairly optimistic that in the long term humans are pretty good at ratcheting up to a better future, but my gut reaction to the wide array of problems facing today’s civilization is that the cumulative effect might trigger a global “reset button” handing us a new Dark Age, relatively speaking, wit ...more
3.5. I loved the first two chapters of this. After that, it got steadily worse and I ended up skipping the last 100 pgs.
The premise is that human culture is very adept at innovating and solving problems; as such, the author believes that, despite the pessimism of most people, one can very rationally feel quite optimistic over the future of humanity. We will find solutions to climate change and the other great problems that our species faces.
I am sympathetic to this argument and I thought that ...more
What can I say, I'm a rational pessimist. Vomiting data on our evolution doesn't change the fact that we live in a planet with finite resources. Not sure what his conclusion is, but I'm not listening all this massive fact dumping to find out.
I really thought I would like "The Rational Optimist." First off, Ridley is a science writer, and I'm a science geek. As a science writer, I'd figure that Ridley would be firmly grounded in facts. And where Ridley stuck to the science and the facts, the book is excellent.
What's more, like Ridley I am convinced that humans are safer and freer today than we ever were. And whenever people yearn for "the good old days," I cringe.Even the "good old days" of the 50's were horrific for African America ...more
A Masterpiece. Matt Ridley is always a pleasure to read, but this puts the icing on the cake. If I claimed The Rational Optimist to be the most important non-fiction book I've read in my entire life, it wouldn't be far from the truth. I'll be going through the individual references next week, and looking at their citations for more insights, but seriously, this is a must read. If you want to fight poverty, save the environment, and build a better world - look no further. READ THIS BOOK.
Edit: Al ...more
Very valuable read overall. Apart from the secularism and the evolutionary assumptions, Ridley does a great job of describing things in a way that counteracts the very common and insistent cultural pessimistic narrative. Postmillenialists need to read this kind of stuff together with their scriptural studies. Eschatology, markets and progress all go together.
Ridley makes the obvious point that life is now better than it has been at any point in humanity's past by virtually any metric, even metrics not designed specifically to make this point (like GDP), for basically everyone. Having done this for a few dozen pages (during which he is guilty of only a few instances of exaggeration, cherry picking, or intentional omission of information; his thesis really is largely true), he realises he can never fill a book with it, so he goes off into surprisingly ...more